Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vikings win, but Jackson nicked

OK, so it's not exactly the same as Tom Brady missing a game tonight with a foot injury or Peyton Manning's knee surgery. But Tarvaris Jackson going down with a knee injury in the first quarter of last night's 23-15 win over Baltimore still isn't good news, especially when the depth chart behind him consists of Gus Frerotte, Brooks Bollinger, and John David Booty. Fortunately, it doesn't look like the injury is anything serious and coach Brad Childress said that Jackson probably could have stayed in the game if it had been important.

Now, it comes as no surprise that I'm no huge Tarvaris Jackson fan. But over the last few weeks, I've been mildly impressed by his performance in the preseason and, given the alternatives at the quarterback position, admit that he's the best option under center for the Vikings in 2008. Can he quarterback the team to a Super Bowl, as some (like Dr. Z) are saying? That still remains to be seen, but I'd still feel a whole lot better with him out there than a 37-year-old quarterback who threw 12 interceptions in 167 attempts last year.

(In fact, I've become so enamored, so to speak, with Jackson's performance that I'm not sure how to vote in the poll I've put up on the right side. I could see arguments to vote for all three men.)

If you missed the game, like me, you can see video highlights of it at Jackson's injury comes at about the 1:40 mark. It's not particularly gruesome and definitely looks like a relatively minor incident, but you never know how these things turn out. At most, it might keep him out of the next preseason game, and, by the looks of it, he's the Vikings QB who needs the least amount of tune-up work. Here are the numbers for Vikings QBs through the first two preseason games:


Jackson's passer rating through two games is an impressive 127.1, and while passer rating through two preseason games doesn't count for much, I'd rather have 127.1 than 27.1. Booty's definitely picking up the rear (ha!), and had a bad interception in last night's game that went the other way for six, but I'd still bet on him taking the #3 job away from Bollinger.

The defense also performed significantly better this week as compared to last, giving up 182 fewer yards (419 to 237) and notching five sacks and two interceptions, after scoring zero in both categories against Seattle. Jared Allen had two of the five Viking sacks, a nice sign even if it did come against the less-than-stellar Baltimore offense.

A cause for some concern, though, apart from Jackson's injury, is the relatively poor play of the running game. The Vikings "big two" of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor have managed just 60 yards on 18 carries through two games (a 3.3 average). I do worry that last year's great running game was fueled by a near-flukish performance by the offensive line and that the team could be in for a bit of a disappointment in that category this year. It won't get any easier next week against the typically tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense, but at least the game will be nationally televised on CBS, giving me (and the rest of you) no excuse not to watch.

Still, the regular season can't get here soon enough....


Luft Krigare said...

Tarvaris has done pretty well so far this preseason. He will easily miss the Steelers game, but should he be held out for the Cowboys too?

755em1 said...

Some of the concern about the running game would seem unwarranted. They see limited carries in these pre-season games. In his record-setting game against the Chargers, AD racked up 253 of his 296 yards in the second half.

I am not saying that the Vikings can afford to be complacent, but perhaps these preseason game just don't afford them the opportunities (number of attempts) required to really get the running game going?

Virginia Viking said...

He may even be out for the Packers and Colts regular-season games. The word on the street has him out 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL.

Jason said...

Just saw an update on ESPN. They said he could miss the final two preseason games, but no mention of regular season.

Peter said...

Frerotte's performance last year should be taken with a huge freaking grain of salt. I think the 2008 Vikings will be a little easier to QB than the injured 2007 Rams were.

I think the running game will look better when the playcalling goes into regular season mode. Of course, I also think the run defense will look better, so I guess I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth.

We Vikings fans have to have a reason to be optimistic no matter how flawed the logic.